The Circuit Factory Challenge - My Ass Kicking and My Results
The Circuit Factory runs a Challenge every six weeks or so. The Challenge lasts for four weeks and it focuses on intense training, and a strict lifestyle, known as The Holy Grail.
I decided to take The Challenge as my training had fallen behind with bouts of sleep deprivation, Christmas and the accompanying feasting, and far too much wine and celebrating. The Challenge is the perfect way to get back on track and to focus on my diet, which is the first thing to slip, when it comes to me.
The Challenge is fairly simple, attend a Circuit Factory Class four times a week, do breakfast exercises in the morning before the Circuit Factory Class in the evening (or vice versa), and stick to The Holy Grail (which in short means, stop eating all that crap!).
Pre-Challenge Weigh In:
No cheating allowed here! All information laid bare at the beginning, so I can really see what I've achieved, and where I need to work harder. Here are my Pre Challenge photographs, I'll take photographs each week, to see the changes.
All photographs, measurements and weights will be taken at 9pm each Saturday night, as I tend to gain about 1kg over the day, and I want to make sure all the changes are comparable.
My weights and measures are as follows:
Bust: 30 Inches
Waist: 28.5 Inches
Stomach: 36 Inches
Hips: 40.5 Inches
This week has been a challenge, mainly because of portion control. I actually started weighing my carbs, because I have a tendency to just stick a load of rice in the pan and not bother to think about how much of it I am actually eating. Too much it turns out, and it's been a little bit of a shock when I realised how much is actually one portion!
I did start seeing some results on day 4 though. I felt like my stomach had gotten flatter, but maybe that was just psychological. Plus as soon as I eat gluten, which I did over the weekend for my cheat meal, my stomach bloats up anyway, so possibly not a good indicator!
I also only completed three Circuit Factory sessions, not four, because I went to my third one, and then realised in the warm up that I really wasn't well, and had a bit of a 24 hour bug. So I hope I can make four sessions next week.
The one big thing that hit me in the face this week is how HARD it has been! I'm sure loads of you have heard the saying "sweat is fat crying"..... well, my fat might be crying, but my muscles are too! They are screaming in protest and I resemble someone who is 9 months pregnant when I try to get out of bed in the morning, I have to just take a deep breath and roll!
It takes forever for my muscles to warm up during my Circuit Factory sessions because they are so stiff from all the exercise. I had no idea that the breakfast exercises would make such a difference. I have a few muscles that are protesting louder than all the others:
- A spot on my hamstring just above my left knee
- Part of my abs on my right hand side
- The sides of my back, just above my waist
They aren't injured or damaged, just in shock!
My cardio system has taken a beating too. My 1 mile runs are getting incrementally slower, which is really frustrating. I'm wading through the treacle again, and I do not like it! I knew it was going to be tough, but I didn't realise I'd feel like I'd never exercised before.
Ok, so the weights and measures at the end of week 1:
Bust: 30.0 Inches
Waist: 28.5 Inches
Stomach: 35.5 Inches
Hips: 40.0 Inches
So that's 1.5kg's lost, and 1/2 an inch lost from my stomach and 1/2 an inch lost from my hips! Yippee!!! Really excited by that loss, in a week. Shows that it does work and it really gives me the motivation to keep going.
Here are the photo comparisons! Pre Challenge on the left, and end of week 1 on the right. I can't see much of a difference yet, but hopefully the changes are coming!
This week has been a tough week. I've struggled much more with sugar cravings and with feeling rubbish.
I already knew where my cheat meals would come in this week, it was Gary's birthday on the Monday and then I had a baby shower afternoon tea on the Friday. So cake was going to be present on both of those days. I was expecting to keep to those days being cheat days and avoiding sugar on the other days.
My body had other ideas. The stomach bug I came down with on the Wednesday bogged me down and, combined with the dreaded time of the month, completely ruined my self control. I ate an entire 100g bar of Lindt milk chocolate with hazelnuts. And the only thing that stopped me from eating more crap was jumping on the scales and seeing I'd only lost 0.1kg since Saturday.
It's strange but it seems that I have a really weird view when I look in the mirror. I don't see the weight gain until it is serious, I seem to ignore it and focus on all the good points I can see instead. The only real way to keep my motivated and focused is to weigh myself regularly. That probably puts me in the minority, most people find it demotivates them, but without it, Wednesday night would have gotten even more messy and off track than before!
Although Thursday wasn't much better, I was really sick that day and ended up eating an entire tub of Vanilla Haagan Daaz to myself. I'm having to force myself to write it here because I really cringe when I think about this! Followed by a Baby Shower Afternoon Tea on the Friday and it was a really bad week for food.
The stomach bug also prevented me from completing four sessions at The Circuit Factory this week, because Gary was travelling. Really frustrating not being able to get to four sessions, but I know I wouldn't have been up to it, and I could have set myself back even further.
I'm still pushing to try to beat my personal best on the one mile warm up. It's stuck at 9:04 and I can't seem to push past it. I'm hoping the next couple of week will see me improve there. I think I might have beaten it during one of the sessions but we had to do ten squats (with the clock running) before the run, so I came in at 9:08, which may have been a personal best without the squats.
I am seeing a bit of improvement in my recovery time though. As we change stations and change the exercises, my body seems to be recuperating better and I'm starting each exercise stronger than I would usually, especially towards the end of the session.
Weights and Measures at the end of Week 2:
Bust: 30.0 inches
Waist: 28.0 inches
Stomach: 35.0 inches
Hips: 39.0 inches
I'm shocked to have lost any weight at all this week, given my diet. Even though the core wasn't too bad, all the extra treats has really bogged me down. I suspect the weight loss may be solely down to the stomach bug, rather than anything else.
Although, I have lost 0.5 inches from my waist and stomach and an entire inch from my hips this week. I wasn't expecting that at all, and it's definitely spurred me on to work harder next week. I don't have any special events this week, so I'm going to work on a very low key cheat at the end of the week, and stick to the Holy Grail like glue.
I'm hoping to be able to get to 62kg by the end of the challenge, which is possible still do able as long as I rein it in over the next week.
Here are the photo comparisons, photo on the left from the beginning of the challenge and photo on the right from the end of week 2. We are half way through, two more weeks to go!
It's amazing, because I have lost inches, but I really can't tell the differences between these two sets of photographs. It just shows how much more work there is to be done, and that now is not the time to quit!
I've actually managed to get my four sessions in this week, which is a first this challenge. They have been really really tough, but the first session finally yielded a new personal best on the mile run warm up. And not just a small personal best, but a huge one! I went from 9:04 all the way down to 8:36! i was totally shocked when I got it because I was running after a stomach bug, with one shoe untied (I didn't dare stop to fasten it and lose more time!).
I've managed to keep my running up to scratch since too, with an 8:41 the last time I did it. I know that 8:36 is going to be a difficult time to beat, and it might not happen for a while, but I know that it'll come as long as I keep training.
I've been really craving sweet foods this week, but I've been having fruit instead, and that has seemed to keep the cravings under control, which is a big improvement.
I feel like my legs are changing (not my upper thighs which is a shame), as though the muscle is building. They feel straighter, not wobbly, and they don't flap about as much when I walk (I'm painting a really lovely picture there aren't I?).
My diet hasn't been amazing though. I was doing so well at the beginning of the week, but I lost it over the weekend. The food was always going to be the main difficulty for me, but I'm surprised how difficult it has been this week because I started so well, and I was determined to have a clean week.
I need to pick up the food next week and finally give it a proper go.
Weights and Measures at the end of Week 3:
Bust: 30.0 Inches
Waist: 28.0 Inches
Stomach: 35.0 Inches
Hips: 39.0 Inches
An absolute identical reading to last week. Its strange how I've had such a good week fitness wise, but not weight loss wise. I guess you can't have them both!
Here are the photograph comparisons from the beginning of the challenge, to now. I still can see very little difference, but I'm not sure if I was expecting too much from a four week block.
This week is going to be a tough one, because I already know that I can't get to four sessions of The Circuit Factory. Gary is away with work, so I'm having to push it to get three sessions in. I might try to get to a morning session, but we'll see how the week goes.
I need to get my food right this week, it's really obvious that the first week (my best week diet wise) I lost 1.5KG and then that dropped right off as soon as I started adding the crap back into my diet (even though I was trying not to).
The great thing is that my week started off with another personal best! Down to 8:22 on the 1 mile run for the warm up. I'm shocked and slightly concerned because I have no idea how I did it, but it's a great way to start off the week. Although my arms seem to have given up in defeat, I can't even do a crucifix hold with 3kgs in each hand, it really really hurts!
But then my third session of The Circuit Factory ended halfway through the warm up, with a tweaked hamstring. I was sent home with instructions to rest, but unfortunately the rest was going to be for almost ten days while Gary was away.
Although, as EVERY SINGLE INSTRUCTOR told me as I left the building "It's 80% diet, 20% exercise, so keep the food clean". So I worked so, so hard to keep my food completely clean.
And I managed it! A full six days of absolutely nothing but the Holy Grail to eat. It was so tough, I wanted sugar every single day, especially when I was on my own and there was no one to watch me devour an entire tub of haagen daz. But I did it (save for a tiny tub of ice cream that I shared with my two year old on the sixth day!). The seventh day was Valentines day, so S and I made Chocolate Mint Cake for when Gary arrived home on his brief stopover before going away with work again, and there may have been a sneaky bottle of wine, but one cheat meal in a week is a complete record for me!
I can actually keep my diet clean, who knew!
Weights and Measures for the End of the Challenge:
Bust: 29.5 Inches
Waist: 27.5 Inches
Stomach: 35.4 Inches
Hips: 38.5 Inches
Ummm WOW! I kinda accepted that it was 80% diet, but I had no idea exactly how true that was, especially when I can't exercise.
I've lost 1.9kgs in a WEEK and 1/2 an inch from my bust, waist, stomach and hips. That is impressive.
I was aiming to get to 62kgs in an ideal world, so being 0.5 kgs away from my goal is brilliant, especially when I struggled so much in week three. It also gives me the push to keep going with the clean eating, and see what I am really capable of.
I was also aiming for a hip measurement of 37 inches, which would make me a perfect size 10 ;-) I'm still 1.5 inches away, but I'm a lot closer than I was before. I also tend to keep weight on my hips, so it's going to be the last place it comes off.
Here are my final photographs for comparison: